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For Immediate Release
December 10, 2003
For more information, contact
J. Michael Hickey at (603) 641-1660

Commission to assess the operating efficiency of state government announces findings and recommendations

Identifies $78,539,129 in First Year Savings; $417,284,646 Over Five Year

(Concord, NH)- The Commission to Assess the Operating Efficiency of State Government presented its Final Report containing recommendations to reduce the cost of state government and improve operating efficiencies. The report was presented to Governor Craig Benson, Senate President Tom Eaton and Majority Whip Rogers Johnson.  Year one savings are projected to be $78,539,129, and over five years the report highlights projected savings of $417,284,646. 

The Commission was charged with identifying opportunities in state government to promote efficiency, encourage cost savings, enhance accountability and control, improve coordination and reduce redundancy, and provide better government for the taxpayer‚s dollar.  Initially, committees were established to address six systemic issue areas. These included: personnel and human resources; procurement, information technology, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Resources, board consolidation and asset management.  Additional work groups were formed to address corrections, fleet management, administrative rule making, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, higher education and business office consolidation, among others.  Each committee and work group utilized a combination of interviews, agency meetings, field investigation and statistical analysis to complete assignments.

Michael Hickey, chairman of the Commission stated, "We believe the strength of these recommendations lies  in the Commission‚s goal to recommend broad changes to government operations and provisions of services rather than to micromanage change.  By presenting new, better ways for the state to run and empowering state workers with more efficient procedures and supports, the Commission creates opportunities for additional changes to cascade through the overall state system."

Upon receiving his report on a CD-ROM, Governor Craig Benson commented, "I thank the Commission for their hard work on behalf of the State of New Hampshire.  State government needs to live within its means.  These recommendations will go a long way to improve our operations, make government more responsive and reduce the taxpayer burden."

Senate President Thomas Eaton stated, "I commend the Legislature and the members of the reform commission, who gave of their free time, professional expertise and other resources to the worthy cause of making our government more efficient and, ultimately, more sensitive to the constraints of taxpayers.  Within a relatively short period of time, the commissioners were successful at performing a comprehensive analysis of the six areas they were charged with studying.  I am impressed with the group's findings, particularly those related to state facilities management and lease negotiations."

Gene Chandler, Speaker of the House reinforced the work of the Commission. "I am very grateful for the hard work of the efficiency commission.  House leadership supported passage of the original House Bill creating the Commission right from the beginning.  We always welcome the opportunity to find creative ways to streamline the operation of state government to make things better for the people who live and work in New Hampshire.  House leadership is particularly supportive of the Commission's recommendations regarding simplification of the administrative rulemaking process.   We look forward to the continued work of the Commission in pursuing the implementation of its recommendations and will certainly take a serious look at any legislation that may be warranted in response to the Commission's findings."

Hickey went on to state, "With the 2004 session of the New Hampshire General Court about to begin its work, great opportunity exists for the State of New Hampshire to achieve meaningful change in state government operations.  But it will require an entire team effort that brings together the Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, the entire Legislature and state employees and officials from throughout New Hampshire to make the projected savings identified in the final report a reality."

Financial support for the Commission's work was provided by thirteen underwriters including: The Benson Committee; New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Verizon Foundation; Holloway Automotive Group; Citizens Bank; Bank North Charitable Foundation; Fleet Bank; Public Service of New Hampshire; State Street Discount; High Point Communications Group, Inc.; R.E. PINARD & Co.; Barker Foundation and Comcast.

The commission retained the services of Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) an independent, nonpartisan economic research organization, located within Suffolk University in Boston to provide research and analysis.  Founded in 1991, BHI applies a market-clearing approach to the analysis of tax, fiscal and regulatory issues.  In addition, BHI also studies education spending, charitable tax incentives, universal health care, tort reform and economic competitiveness and applies economic analysis to public policy issues affecting the states and the nation.         

The Commission has a total membership of eighteen participants with equal apportionment by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President.  The Commission is comprised largely of individuals with backgrounds in business.  Four elected officials serve on the Commission.  Some members of the Commission have worked in state government and others have been vendors to the state.  In total, the Commission reflects a broad range of subject matter expertise and geographic interests.

The Commission‚s Final Report is available here.   To share comments or suggestions with the Commission, please contact the Governor's Office of Customer Service at 800-852-3456 or email your comments to benson@nh.gov.

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